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Los Angeles Immigration Law Blog

Understanding H-1B visas

Many companies in Southern California have a need for highly educated and skilled personnel. In many occasions, companies look overseas when the domestic supply of such individuals runs low. Obtaining a Green Card, which is a prelude to immigration to the United States, can take more time than either the company or the applicant can spend. Therefore, the government has created a separate, non-immigration type of visa to accommodate the temporary residence of a highly trained or key employee from another country.

These visas are known as H-1B visas, and they can be granted only to individuals who are qualified for one of the following types of jobs:

  • Jobs that have a minimum entry requirement of a bachelor's degree or equivalent,
  • Jobs that have a degree requirement that is common to the industry,
  • Jobs that normally require a degree according to the employer's hiring standards, or
  • Jobs that have specific duties that are so specialized or complex that requisite knowledge to perform the duties of the position are equivalent to attainment of a bachelor's degree

Continue building a life with your spouse

Life just doesn’t feel right when loved ones live far away. It’s equally disheartening when threats against your family disrupt everything else. If you are a U.S. citizen or green card holder, there is hope for a brighter future. A spousal visa could be the answer to this complex problem.

Trump rule to limit access to asylum seekers blocked by judge

President Trump's continuing effort to use administrative declarations to raise the barriers to lawful admission into the United States hit another roadblock in San Francisco on November 18. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order that prevented enforcement of the president's declaration that persons seeking asylum could not enter the United States except through lawful ports of entry.

The dispute began on November 9 when President Trump signed a proclamation that banned migrants from applying for asylum if they failed to make the request at a legal checkpoint. The president said that national security required the limitation, but he did so without presenting any supporting evidence. The rule was allowed to become effective even though it had not been published in the Federal Register or been subjected to public review and comment.

Long periods of detention not always related to criminal record

The Trump administration seems to enjoy portraying immigrants as habitual criminals who deserve nothing better than indefinite incarceration. Unfortunately, a review of the records pertaining to immigrants who have been held in extended detention shows that many -- if not most -- of these persons have either committed no crimes or have served whatever sentence was imposed upon them by a state criminal court. Nevertheless, they were still held in immigration detention.

One immigrant was accused of and convicted of a second-degree robbery in San Diego in 2003. He served a two-year prison sentence for that crime and was then transferred to an Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in southern California. He applied for asylum, but almost 10 years passed before he was released from immigration detention. Two detainees held in a Virginia detention center have no crimes on their records, but they have been held in detention since 2007.

American citizen recovers $55,000 in wrongful deportation suit

American citizens should be free of any worry about being deported, but apparently, American citizenship is not a complete barrier against ill-advised and illegal deportation proceedings. A resident of San Bernardino who is an American citizen was illegally detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and repeatedly threatened with deportation, even after she insisted on several occasions that she was an American citizen.

The incident began when the woman visited the Ontario Police Department to reclaim her lawfully registered pistol after it had been taken from her car following a traffic accident. The woman was arrested and incarcerated. ICE sent the Sheriff's Office an immigration detainer asking that it hold the woman. After her release, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on her behalf against ICE, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office and the state of California.

What criminal charges mean to your immigration status

If you are hoping to secure your citizenship in the United States, you should be aware that being convicted of a crime can have devastating effects on your status. There is a high priority placed on keeping an eye on individuals who do not have legal status and have a criminal record. When you have a criminal record, you are considered to be high risk and a threat to the safety of the public.

When you are not a United States citizen, having contact with the police will most likely have an effect on your immigration status. If you are arrested, you can expect your chances of obtaining a work visa or permanent residence to severely diminished.

Ruling temporarily stops the deportation of TPS immigrants

Many immigrants in southern California are in the United States because they enjoy protection under the Temporary Protected Status program (TPS). In its never-ending campaign to remove such protections, the Trump Administration recently announced a plan to terminate the TPS program for immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua. The announcement immediately threatened immigrants from these countries will imminent deportation. However, a federal judge in Los Angeles issued an injunction that requires the government to maintain the program and the protected status of its beneficiaries while a class action that challenges the validity of the termination proposal comes to trial.

The TPS program is intended to provide favored immigration status for immigrants from countries that are suffering from dire conditions, such as epidemics, war or natural disaster. Prior administrations were willing to continue the program, but the Trump administration is intent upon ending the protections, saying they are no longer necessary.

Trump policies lead to more arrests of non-criminal immigrants

President Trump is fond of using stories of crimes committed by illegal immigrants to stoke support for his harsh immigration policies. Recent studies are showing, however, that the administration's harsh policies are leading to the arrests of an increasing number of non-criminal immigrants.

Most people arrested in the administration's crackdown on illegal immigration are usually accused of lesser offences, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are increasingly arresting people with no criminal record at all. A policy analyst with the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute says that the arrest of non-criminal immigrants has become "a defining characteristic of this administration's approach to immigration."

Trump administration tries to avoid Flores rule

One of the longest standing judicial rulings that affects immigrant families is the class action consent decree known as the Flores Settlement. The settlement is named after the young Hispanic girl who was reunited with her parents as the result of that settlement. She had been incarcerated with adult men and stripped searched every day while in lengthy government custody. The settlement requires that migrant children be released from custody without unnecessary delay or transferred to a licensed child care facility. In emergency, the time limit can be extended to twenty days.

The Trump administration recently filed proposed rules intended to allow minors to be held beyond the current limit of 20 days and to relax the licensing requirements for temporary housing facilities. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that the restrictions of the Flores consent decree were "legal loopholes" that significantly hinder the department's ability to appropriately detain and promptly remove family units that have no legal basis to remain in the country." In other words, the effort to amend the terms of the Flores Consent Decree is nothing more than an effort to extend the government's "zero tolerance" treatment of immigrant families.

Worries about deportation common among DACA recipients

The future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has been up in the air for some time now. So, it is understandable that participants in the program would have concerns about their future. One thing that a recent study points to as being a regular source of worry among DACA participants is the possibility of future deportation.

In the study, by the Center for American Progress, over 1,000 participants in this program were surveyed about how often they thought about deportation. Nearly a third of them live in California.

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